View-Worthy: 8.27.14


The Childhood Race, Keg Stands, Urge to Pray, Labor Day.


Jen Pollock Michel. When Childhood Has Become a Race. (Christianity Today)

In a July article for The New Republic, William Deresiewicz admonished parents to abandon Ivy League ambitions for their children. Having spent 24 years at Columbia and Yale, he surmises that students at our most elite universities have lost their sense of purpose.

These high-achieving students may be “winners in the race we have made of childhood.” They may have mastered “a double major, a sport, a musical instrument, a couple of foreign languages, service work in distant corners of the globe, [and] a few hobbies thrown in for good measure.” But if they are great at what they’re doing, they have no idea why they’re doing it.

Deal of the Day

Am I Called? by Dave Harvey $0.99

Book Review

Jeremy Writebol. everPresent. Reviewed by Aaron Armstrong.


Kevin DeYoung. Christ Did Not Die for You to Do Keg Stands.

With most major college getting whipped into a full frenzy, I thought it would be worthwhile to dust off a few thoughts about binge drinking on our nation’s campuses. Most students won’t have to look hard for opportunities to drink over the next days and weeks (and months and semesters). They may have to go somewhere off campus to party, but the party scene comes recruiting right to them. Some students arrive at college looking to make their Party U dreams come true. Others just find themselves all alone and eager to fit in and make friends. The sad reality is that choices made in the first weeks (or even days) of college can set a trajectory that’s hard to break.

Erik Raymond. Never Resist the Urge to Pray.

As people we know that it is often wise to resist various urges that we have. We can keep ourselves out of trouble by resisting the urge to say something when we are offended. We can prevent various health issues by resisting urges to overeat or (routinely) eat unhealthy foods. We can steer clear from financial debt by resisting the urge to buy something on impulse. We can almost develop a reflex of resistance in this fallen world. This can be good for us (and others).

However, there is one urge that you should never resist. This area is prayer. I believe it was Martyn Lloyd-Jones whom I first read who said, “Never resist any urge to pray.” That is great advice without much need for explanation. But let me point out a couple of reasons why.

Nick Batzig. Labor Day: Your Need for Both Work and Rest. (

As we come to celebrate another Labor Day, it may be beneficial for us to step back for a moment and consider what Scripture has to say about the rhythm of work and rest—i.e. the cyclical configuration by which all the events of our lives occur. Learning the theology of work and rest is one of the greatest challenges of our own day. Many of us have adopted faulty views of work, and therefore have faulty views of rest. We are commanded to do all the work that needs to be accomplished every week in the six days that follow, and lead up to, the glorious day of rest. Then we are commanded to rest. This rhythm of work and rest is both a creational and a new-creational (i.e.redemptive) ordinance. The suffix to the 4th commandment in Exodus 20:11 and Deuteronomy 5:15 teaches us this. God commanded His people to rest one day in seven because He rested from the work of creation and because He redeemed them from the hand of their enemies. In short, we need to learn to work hard at learning to work as unto the Lord and we need to learn to work hard at learning to cease from our labors, by resting in the finish work of Christ.


Romans 8:1 “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

“The stream of grace and righteousness is deeper and broader than the stream of guilt.” Matthew Henry


Banner of Truth Releases E-Books


Visit Banner of Truth’s website today and you’ll be surprised to find an advertisement on their homepage carousel for e-books.

That’s right. You’re now able to read old books (and some new) in a beautiful new format. This isn’t some cheap streamlined poorly navigable product that Banner has produced. They are thoughtfully converting these classics for your enjoyment. I’ve been beta testing this product for about a month now.

I’m almost half-way through Owen’s Indwelling Sin in Believers, and I am very pleased with this e-book. The cover is just like the cover from Banner’s original edition, which for some reason is super important to me. The table of contents is navigable. The typeset is beautiful. All the normal functions that you want in a Kindle e-book are available. It’s just like you have a digital version of the print book, but now you can harness the amazing potential of Kindle’s search function. If you’ve been on the fence about getting Puritan works in e-book format due to poor e-book options, the barrier is now removed.

Banner has made the following ten titles available in EPUB or MOBI format at this time.

1. Acceptable Sacrifice by John Bunyan

2. Christ’s Glorious Achievements by C H Spurgeon

3. Discovering God’s Will by Sinclair Ferguson

4. Indwelling Sin in Believers by John Owen

5. Peter Eyewitness of His Majesty by Edward Donnelly

6. Silent Witnesses by Garry Williams

7. The Christian’s Great Enemy by John Brown

8. The Faith Shaped Life by Ian Hamilton

9. The Valley of Vision by Arthur Bennett !!!

10. When Christians Suffer by Thomas Case

And if you want both the print and e-book, you can bundle the two for a reasonable price. There is also a price break for purchasing digital versions of Banner books. Not only that, but Banner, over time, will be making many, many, many more titles available in e-book format.

Click here to visit the Banner of Truth e-book store.

The Christology of 1 Timothy (Christward Collective Guest Post)

When we introduce the subject of Christology, most minds immediately gravitate to such texts as Isaiah 53, John 1:1-14, Colossians 1:14-23, and Philippians 2:1-11; but, would you have thought of 1 Timothy as being a significant Christological work? When most think of this letter, they think of the role of church leadership or women. Rarely does the magisterial role of Christ come to mind. But let’s consider three valuable Christological confessions from 1 Timothy and see how they not only shape our understanding of Christ but also our understanding of this letter.

1 Timothy 1:15-17

The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost. But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life. To the King of the ages, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.

In this first Christological confession we discover the pre-existence of Christ. He is the King of the ages and immortal one. He rules over all time periods and death has no power over Him. He has always existed in rule and always will exist as ruler.

The concept that Christ “came into the world” echoes John’s similar language. I. Howard Marshall comments in the ICC, The Pastoral Epistles, “In John the language indicates pre-existence, i.e. that an existing divine being came from outside into this world, rather than that somebody simply says ‘I was born’. In the PE the context is the author’s epiphany Christology within which pre-existence is a likely implication” (398).

Why did God the Son exit His sphere and enter ours? One reason (and a crucial one in God’s redemptive plan!) is that the Son appeared in the first advent “to save sinners.” Paul’s confession that he was personally the foremost of sinners (1 Tim. 1:15) should be our confession when we think of what it cost God the Son to redeem us.

Why is this?


View-Worthy: 8.26.14


Poor Great Britian, Obama’s Mythical 21st Century, Close Church’s Back Door, Cure for Beauty.


Joe Carter. Great Britain Poorer Than Every US State. (ACTON)

At the height of power, circa 1922, the British Empire was the largest empire in history, covering one-fifth of the world’s population and almost a quarter of the earth’s total land area. Yet almost one hundred years later, Great Britain is not so great, having lost much of its previous economic and political dominance. In fact, if Great Britain were to join the United States, it’d be poorer than any of the other 50 states — including our poorest state, Mississippi.

Deal of the Day

Unfriend Yourself: Three Days to Detox, Discern, and Decide About Social Media by Kyle Tennant $2.99

Book Review

Simon Chan. Grassroots Asian Theology. Reviewed by Richard J Mouw


Trevin Wax. President Obama’s Mythical 21st Century.

The president’s comment about the future may be powerful rhetoric, but it is not reality. If history shows us anything, it is that “the future” has often belonged to those who are passionate enough about their cause to destroy anything in their way in order to build something different.

Thom Rainer. 5 Incredible Steps to Close the Back Door In Your Church.

If you want to close the back door in your church, read these five incredible steps.

By “closing the back door,” I am referring to assimilating or keeping those who have already become a part of the church. The sad reality is that many churches have less than one-half of their members show up at any one point. They are “walking out the back door.”

James Hoskins. A Cure for Beauty. (CaPC)

I have a poignant memory early in my music career when I thought I was getting close to achieving that goal. Back in 2000, my band got a gig as the opener for a more well-known indie outfit called The Poster Children. As we were setting up to play, I heard some other musicians talking near the side of the stage and looking out at someone in the crowd. Tracy Bonham was in town on tour, and her bassist (who also happened to be in The Rentals) was apparently a Poster Children fan. So they had come to the show; at least that’s what I heard (I never actually saw them). I remember playing with special abandon that night, getting lost in our songs and feeling a part of something bigger. I remember thinking, “It’s going to happen—it is happening.” But it didn’t happen, whatever “it” was.


Romans 3;20 “For by work of the law no human being will be justified in his sight, since through the law comes knowledge of sin.”

“If justification depends on works it would be unobtainable.” Sinclair Ferguson

From the Preface of How (Not) to be Secular by James K A Smith


On the one hand, this is a book about a book — a small field guide to a much larger scholarly tome. It is both an homage and a portal to Charles Taylor’s monumental Secular Age, a book that offers a genealogy of the secular and an archaeology of our angst. This is a commentary on a book that provides a commentary on postmodern culture.

On the other hand, this is also meant to be a kind of how-to manual — guidance on how (not) to live in a secular age. It is ultimately an adventure in self-understanding, a way to get our bearings in a “secular age” — whoever “we” might be: believers or skeptics, devout or doubting. Whether we’re proclaiming the faith to the secularized or we’re puzzled that there continue to be people of faith in this day and age, Charles Taylor has a story meant to help us locate where we are, and what’s at stake. That existential aspect of Taylor’s project is admittedly buried in a lot of history and footnotes and long digressions. So I’m trying to distill and highlight this aspect of his argument precisely because I think it matters — and matters especially for those believers who are trying to not only remain faithful in a secular age but also bear witness to the divine for a secular age.

I am an unabashed and unapologetic advocate for the importance and originality of Taylor’s project. I think A Secular Age is an insightful and incisive account of our globalized, cosmopolitan, pluralist present. Anyone who apprehends the sweep and force of Taylor’s argument will get a sense that he’s been reading our postmodern mail. His account of our “cross-pressured” situation — suspended between the malaise of immanence and the memory of transcendence — names and explains vague rumblings in the background of our experience for which we lack words.


A Theology for the Church edited by Daniel Akin

ATheologyForThe ChurchThis review first appeared at Lifeway’s Pastors Today web-blog.


Daniel L. Akin. A Theology for the Church: Revised Edition. Nashville: B&H Academic, 2014. 770 pp. $54.99.




Every solid systematic theology organizes core doctrines of the Christian faith into helpful categories. Each category engages pertinent Scriptures exegetically and canonically, judiciously retrieves Church tradition, methodically synthesizes exegesis and tradition into theological constructs, and employs contextual engagement in the spirit of the men of Issachar: “men who understood the times” (1 Chron. 12:32).

Though most systematic theologies do those four tasks, few are organized by those tasks. A Theology for the Church refreshingly does this. This systematic theology consists of eight conventional sections: Revelation, God, Humanity, Christ, Holy Spirit, Salvation, Church, and Last Things. There are fourteen chapters altogether, and each chapter has four sections: What Does the Bible Say?, What Has the Church Believed?, How Does It All Fit Together?, and How Does This Doctrine Impact the Church Today?.

Daniel Akin, president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary, is the general editor of this project. Contributors include Russell Moore, David Dockery, Timothy George, Mark Dever, and Al Mohler among others. In the preface, the editorial committee writes, “Each participant in this project is a confessional theologian and churchman. They are evangelical and baptistic in their commitments, and they believe, as do I, that the task of theology must be recovered in the church if it is to have vitality and health in the twenty-first century” (viii).

This revision of A Theology for the Church includes two entirely new chapters, chapter one on an introduction to the task of theology by Bruce Riley Ashford and Keith Whitfield and chapter five on creation and providence by Chad Owen Brand. In addition, chapter three on special revelation by David S. Dockery and chapter seven on human nature by John S. Hammett underwent substantial revisions.

Benefit for Pastoral Ministry

Al Mohler reminds us in the closing chapter of A Theology for the Church:

“In reality there is no dimension of the pastor’s calling that is not deeply, inherently, and inescapably theological. The pastor will encounter no problem in counseling that is not specifically theological in character.” (724)

Thus, every pastor, at all times in ministry, should read a systematic theology. Reading a systematic theology at a crawl is better than not reading one at all. In reading one, Pastors find doctrinal truth to be experiential truth fittingly applicable to everyday church members, the spiritually interested, and reprobates. For this reason, A Theology for the Church keeps in mind this pastoral audience.

As the introductory paragraph presents, the undergirding priority of a stellar systematic theology is exegetical engagement of Scripture. This is where A Theology for the Church shines. Akin’s chapter on the person of Christ showcases this.

For thirty pages Akin canonically covers the Old and New Testament understanding of the person of Christ. Key Old Testament passages from Genesis, Psalms, Isaiah, and others are addressed. Likewise, essential Christological texts like John 1, Philippians 2, Colossians 1, and Hebrew 1 receive extensive treatment. Finally, Akin synthetically treats the life of Christ with careful scrutiny.

A Theology for the Church also judiciously retrieves church tradition. As scholars interact with past tomes of systematic theology, they highlight contributions while honestly addressing shortcomings.

For instance, in chapter one’s introduction to the task of theology, the contributors praise Augustine for how “his theology can be viewed as the pinnacle of theological reflection in the patristic period” (19). Meanwhile, they gently critique Augustine’s theological method in footnote thirty-six, “As we noted, Augustine struggled to contextualize faithfully, as he sometimes drew from pagan philosophy in inappropriate and unhelpful manners” (20).

Now don’t let that critical footnote confuse you. It’s not that Augustine contextualized, but he did so deficiently. Contributors to A Theology for the Church synthesize exegesis and tradition into a theological method that harnesses philosophy, reason and cultural engagement.

Hammet’s chapter seven on human nature provides a pristine example of this. He synthesizes biblical study and historical tradition into helpful conclusions, arguing that humans are creatures (315) with personhood (316) and complex constitutions (317). They are specially created (320) with two unique but distinct gender roles (321) that multiply (322), enrich one another (323), and are called (325) to do work for the glory of God (326) but to rest as well (327). Along the way Hammet engages hot button issues like the historicity of Adam (316), Feminism (311-12), and views of the Sabbath (327).

As you can see, it is a noble challenge to produce a single-volume systematic theology, let alone for a team of contributors to effectually achieve this result by offering continuity of approach, structure, and engagement. I believe that A Theology for the Church is one of the finer systematic theologies to undertake and triumph at this sizable task.

After spending a couple months with my copy, I testify to A Theology for the Church’s scholarly caliber and scriptural fidelity. This study succeeds at making doctrine nourishing to the soul.


Essential            Recommended            Helpful            Pass It By


A Theology for the Church connects pastors to doctrine that commits them to the local church.

View-Worthy: 8.25.14


Driscoll Update, Keller Interview, Evangelicalism’s Social Ethics, John the Baptist and Platform, Paper Provides Reading Retention.


An Update from Pastor Mark. HT Justin Taylor.

Deal of the Day

Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome by Owen Strachan $0.99

Book Review

Michael Graves. The Inspiration and Interpretation of Scripture. Reviewed by Joshua Torrey.


Interview with Tim Keller. (RELEVANT)

This week we talk to one of our favorite theologians, authors and pastors, Tim Keller

Anthony Bradley. Ideological Tribalism: How Evangelicals Go About Social Ethics. (ACTON)

Evangelicals generally develop perspectives on justice down tribal ideological and political lines because they normatively do not source the Christian social thought tradition when constructing perspectives on justice. It turns out, that I was simply being critiqued by a card-carrying, bona fide political progressive who is be also Christian. In this light, I was not surprised by the content of the critique. I do not hold the same presuppositions about creation, the implications of the fall, natural law, human dignity, the role of the state, the authority of Scripture and so on, as progressives do so naturally progressives are going to see calls to personal moral virtue and challenges to the patriarchy, soft bigotry, and historic tendency for coercive government to make things worse off for those on margins through the welfare state as “speaking comfort to power and castigating the most vulnerable.”

The exchange provides a clear example of how evangelicals, ignorant of the Christian social thought tradition, go about the business of addressing social issues. It goes something like this…

Tim Brister. On Platforms, Self-Promotion, and Pleasure Complete.

So there you have it. The man who Jesus said was without comparison (Jesus excluded of course). His life did not end with him on a throne but in prison. He did not have a crown on his head but ended with his head on platter. How could it really be true what Jesus said about John the Baptist? Is there really none greater?

Of course, those who have read the Bible know the rest of the story. But this is instructive to us in the age of self-promotion and platform-building, is it not? The paradox of greatness according to Jesus runs on a totally different set of tracks than the world of raw, selfish ambition. What can we learn from the life of John the Baptist, since, after all, he did it better than anyone else?

Alison Flood. Readers Absorb Less on Kindles than on Paper, Study Finds. (The Guardian) HT Scot McKnight

A new study which found that readers using a Kindle were “significantly” worse than paperback readers at recalling when events occurred in a mystery story is part of major new Europe-wide research looking at the impact of digitisation on the reading experience.

The study, presented in Italy at a conference last month and set to be published as a paper, gave 50 readers the same short story by Elizabeth George to read. Half read the 28-page story on a Kindle, and half in a paperback, with readers then tested on aspects of the story including objects, characters and settings.


Romans 3:24 “And are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”

“Justification by faith is the hinge upon which all true religion turns.” John Calvin

View-Worthy: 8.22.14


Time to Listen, Publishing Sermons?, Community Group Multiplication, Death of a Seminarian.


Leonce Crump. It’s Time to Listen: Will White Evangelicals Ever Acknowledge Systemic Injustice (Part 1).

“I’m sorry for being white!” His comment glowed from the computer screen with such weight that for a moment it was as if it was etched there permanently. What, you may wonder, was the context of this comment? It was written on the Facebook wall of one of my congregants. It was written by her father in response to her trying to explain why Ferguson has been so painful for so many in the African American community. I was truly in disbelief. He was once a Southern Baptist pastor.

Deal of the Day

Rhythms of Grace by Mike Cosper $0.99

Book Review

The ESV Reader’s Bible. Reviewed by Coleman Ford.


Jake Meador. Should Sermons Be Published. (Mere O)

Today we live in a world where pastors of churches large and small post their sermons online almost immediately. Many live-stream and some churches even offer sophisticated viewing experiences allowing viewers to provide feedback. What’s more, the advent of smart phones and social media has made Sunday sermons an interactive experience. Social media on Sunday is filled with comments and quotes drawn from the church service. Christian conferences are chronicled live on Twitter with special hash tags, Instagram pictures, and commentary. 

Pat Aldridge. Community Group Multiplication (pt. 1) – 3 Reasons Why It’s Necessary.

The Christian life is most fully experienced with community. God doesn’t call us to follow Him by ourselves. There is great value in getting together regularly with a small group of people for encouragement and strengthening. But what happens when that group gets so large that it can’t effectively reach the needs of the entire group? It’s time to multiply. While acknowledging that this is hard to practice; it’s a necessity if our desire is to grow and continue to fulfill the great commission. Change can be good. Here are 3 reasons community group multiplication is necessary.

Joe Novenson. Three Deaths Every Seminarian Must Face. (TGC)

I wish there had been a sign hanging at the gate of Westminster Seminary when I entered in the mid-1970s: “Welcome! Come and die!” Dr. Van Til, Dr. Clowney, and others tried to tell me. I just did not have ears to hear.


Psalm 9:7 “But the Lord sits enthroned forever; he has established his throne for justice.”

“Justice always makes mercy dumb when sin has made the sinner deaf.” Thomas Brooks

5 Old Testament Theologies

Finding the best books to read on a subject of theology can be a challenge. This series provides suggested resources for topics of Theology. Each title is linked to Amazon, if available. If you have another title to suggest for this area of study, please comment. I’m always happy to add another work to my library.

Here are 5 books that will launch you into studies on Old Testament Theology.

1. An Old Testament Theology by Bruce K Waltke

2. Everlasting Dominion by Eugene H Merrill

3. Covenant and Creation: An Old Testament Covenant Theology by William J Dumbrell

4. Old Testament Theology in a Canonical Context by Brevard S Childs

5. Old Testament Theology by John Kessler

View-Worthy: 8.21.14


“aha” moments, Church Discipline, Suffering & Truth, You Don’t Have a Porn Problem.


Peter Enns. “aha” moments: a pastor tells his story.

No one was bringing a specific accusation against this guy, and up until this time only one woman had a weird feeling. We kept 1 Timothy 5:19 in clear view.

Over time, as her feelings and paranoia increased (to the point that she came to believe she might even be dealing with mental illness), things began to change and the elder-in-question’s behavior became very strange and erratic. In a tumultuous series of events it came out that the man had been molesting my daughter for several years.

Oh-no. Actually, far, far worse than that.

Deal of the Day

Bloodlines by John Piper .99

Book Review

Dane Ortlund. Edwards on the Christian Life. Reviewed by Nathan Finn. (TGC)


Craig Blomberg. 5 Misunderstandings about Church Discipline.

Growing up in a mainline Protestant church, I had no idea there was anything such as church discipline in the modern world. Matthew 18:15-17was never discussed, much less implemented, even when church leaders gratuitously divorced their spouses after beginning affairs with other individuals.

In the evangelical churches I have participated in during my adult life, there has always been a policy regarding church discipline, attempting to be true to the teaching of Jesus in this text. But a number of exegetical observations are often overlooked.

Whitney Woollard. Suffering Nails Truth to the Heart. (GCD)

It was the night before Easter Sunday (arguably the best day of the year) and I was planning to prepare my heart to celebrate the Lord’s resurrection the following day. Instead, I ended up lying in a hospital bed hooked to an IV receiving the usual cocktailthe doctors give me for migraines. In the past, that would have been the opportune moment to hit play on my usual “woe is me” self-talk. But during those long hours in the emergency room, as I came in and out from the tranquilizing effects of the medications, something rather astounding happened—I began to preach the gospel to myself. The following three gospel truths particularly ministered to me that night and have become regular tracks that I play over and over as I learn to preach the gospel amidst my suffering.

David Murray. You Don’t Have a Porn Problem.

I’m sick and tired of hearing so many single and married men, even professing Christian men, talk so easily, casually, and nonchalantly about their “porn problem” or their “struggles with pornography.”

Porn use has become so common and “normal” that there’s not an ounce of stigma left in it. In fact, “confessing” your latest “fall” has become a fast-track to guaranteed sympathy, an arm round the shoulder, “Hey, none of us are perfect,” “Well, maybe we should think about tightening up accountability here and there…”

What happened to the “Yuk!” factor?


Psalm 37:5 “Commit your way to the Lord; trust in him, and he will act.”

“Christianity is the total commitment of all I know of me to all I know of Jesus Christ.” William Temple